UNLESS you're moving into a squeaky-clean flat or townhouse bought straight from the developer, it's quite likely that you'll notice all sorts of things you'd like to spruce up around your new home as soon as you see it empty of the seller's belongings.
"And, while major changes may have to wait until you're over the expense of moving, there are some things you should consider doing right away, because they provide maximum gratification for minimum outlay," says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group. Probably the most important of these is applying a fresh coat of paint throughout. "Unless the previous owner painted the home shortly before selling, the walls may well appear quite dingy once the rooms have been emptied of furniture. But new paint, especially if it's white or a light shade, will take care of that – and give you a real sense of ownership.
"It is easier, however, to paint an empty home than one full of furniture, so you should try to arrange access to the property for a few days before you actually move in.
"For relatively little expenditure, you can change the whole atmosphere of a room by installing new light fittings or strategically arranging a couple of reading or stand lamps to brighten dark corners." Plants and fresh flowers are also a great help in giving your home a cheerful, inviting atmosphere, as are a few bright posters and art prints hung in inexpensive, ready-made frames, Everitt says.
"And finally, you should take the opportunity to try different furniture arrangements to create a relaxed, uncluttered living environment..."